Across the sea lie many lands within the bounds of the great Axirian Empire. But the Empire is under threat – tearing itself apart from the inside and at the fringes enemies of civilisation and the Gods pick at threadbare patches of resistance. Ymal, a country that shares its borders with the desolate region of the Konn, is one such place. Last year a group of adventurers travelled to the country to break the siege upon a city of significance, but the conflict has continued to rage – the battle lines pushed back and broken, until a group of desperate travellers left their homeland early this year and travelled across the continent to Llaminusia where they encountered by chance a group of adventurers.
The time has now come for these adventurers to enact their plan – to take back the Great Library; to take back Ymal.
Thanks Tees Valley for a great pair of player led missions (pity about the weather later in the day …) which had us fighting through our fears to get to the objectives. Hats off to the adventurer runners and all involved – I know I had my heart in my mouth!
Erulisse Saerwen, Father Leoric, Brigit and Nikolai had been working on a plan to get a group of adventurers into the country. Calling in a few favours and trying to get information on the current situation had been tricky, but they were able to muster a group of heroes in the Tisa Vale. Travelling by portal the group would split in two – one to travel to the library and either break the siege or bolster the defences until the troops in Ymal could come to their aid; one to create enough noise to distract the Konnish, gather some allies and secure the company a way home. Armed with knowledge of their enemy, the two groups were under no illusions – these were likely to be dangerous missions and Brigit made it clear that if they weren’t going to pull together they might as well stay at home. And so saying the company split it two and stepped through the portal …
Securing the port city of Troi – Monster Mission
The first group, led by Nikolai, left Ithron on a damp summers morning and found themselves in the sweltering heat of Ymal facing down a group of armed Templars and Axirian troops. Introducing themselves to the Legate in charge they were briefed quickly as to the situation. The capital, Instantinopolis, was a warzone – the streets battlefields filled with rubble and the dead. There were not enough troops to secure a way to the Great Library and in truth information of the countryside outside the city was becoming sketchy at best. The Konnish had set up ballista that were causing havoc and demons swept through the ruins unopposed. If the second group were to have any hope of making it out of the city alive, the first group would have to make some serious noise. But the Legate had a proposal. Secure a ballista, secure a way out of the city, distract the Konnish long enough for the Templars and Axirians to make some ground and sew chaos. The only question was – take to the streets or take to the sewers?
The adventurers who undertook this task were:
- Carlton of the Scouts Guild;
- Dr Leofrick Kyle of the Guild of Physicians;
- Guild Protector Roger and Nikolai Grigori Sandrakken of the Guild of Blacksmiths;
- Master Meror of the School of Necromancy; Fortescue Everbright of the School of Enchantment; Richter Kless of the School of Demonology; Carmine “Red” Salvador of the Guild of Mages;
- High Father Bill Burns of Longstor; Huskval of Rolbor; Brother Tungdil Stonehammer of Tralda;
The adventurers opted for the sewers – why fight in open streets when they could use the relative cover of tunnels for speed towards their objective? The Legate appointed a local guide to act as their scout, having already discussed the matter with Father Leoric. Once a ballista was captured the adventurers could head on out of the city in search of Nikolai’s potential allies and then on down to the port which was beset by undead and other monsters. If they could clear a way into the port the troop ships of Axirians and Templars could berth their ships and secure the position, bringing in much needed supplies and men to aid in the push back against the Konn. It all seemed so simple on paper …
The adventurers dodged undead that wandered the streets, crawling through the sewers and negotiating traps laid for them by the Konnish. They came up upon their objective – a Konnish ballista – and caught the Konnish unawares. They destroyed the ballista arm as it turned to fire upon them, but were unprepared for the Konnish simply taking their slaves and strapping them in place to begin to fire again. With a shriek one of the slaves snapped in two as a great bolt was fired at the company, and the adventurers rushed the remaining demon worshippers. Capturing the ballista was one thing, holding it was another, and the position was soon swamped by Konnish and their demonic allies and the adventurers were fighting for their lives.
An advance unit of the Axirians relieved them and off the adventurers went – out of the city into the woodlands. They trekked through the undergrowth, ears pricked for sounds of pursuit, until they came upon a group of dragonkin and werewolves who seemed to be expecting them. As Nikolai spoke of an alliance with the dragon Bükrek, the wolves had words with Dr Kyle – having scented a stranger trespassing on their lands. Introducing themselves as the First Men the female inquired as to their reason for being there, whilst her mate listened. The dragonkin were reluctant to help directly, Bükrek currently engaged in a long battle with the dragon Sangal that was taking all his strength and mental fortitude to withstand, and the wolves had the knowledge that all things pass – they had outlived much, they would survive this. But the company were ambushed by a terrible demon and adventurers were quick to the fight. In gratitude for the aid given to them the dragonkin agreed to help, and the wolves also – the harry the Konnish ranks and clear the seaways for the allied ships.
It was then that Nikolai turned the group’s attentions onto the supply lines. Automata parts and other ingredients were needed to bolster the forces of the Konn – deprive them of their supplies and you would begin to limit their numbers. They found one such supply caravan – Axirian dead marching in rank and file as they had of old under the guiding wings of their Eagle. Smashing the undead, robbing the supplies and making off with the eagle, the adventurers were able to put a dent in the Konnish plans and hopefully rekindle hope in the Axirian troops – after all “eagle lost, honour lost” or so the saying goes.
More undead led them to a nasty surprise as a shriveled specimen with stitched lips and eyes exploded in a rolling wave of magic that tore away several magical weapons and prepared scrolls – a soulfire bomb! – before Tungdil waded through the monsters cutting and slashing as he went, muttering Tralda in his usual gruff tones. More automata bits were recovered and the company came upon the remains of a furious Ymalian citizen. It seems she had been betrayed when the Konnish had arrived by someone close to her and all she wanted now was revenge. Leading the adventurers through a narrow passage they came into the port, interrupting a Konnish warlock as he tortured an Axirian mage in black. Summoning forth his demonic allies the warlock continued his work. Drinking a foretell one of the party were able to see how badly things could go and directed his allies as to the demons that waited for them. The warlock was entangled in his robes and butchered before the rest of the company swamped the demons and destroyed them with fury. Then on, on to their goal and a promontory overlooking the sea.
Here the traitor stood, cringing as the Konnish Warlock blamed him for the sudden collapse of the forces and breaking of supply lines. A well aimed arrow pierced her hand as she raised it to cast and that was it – enraged she ordered her followers to attack, the Ymalian princeling faced death at the hands of a vengeful ghost, and the adventurers did what adventurers do best.
And when it was all done they looked out across the harbour and watched the Axirian and Templar ships come in. Job done. Time to go home.
Breaking the siege of the Great Library – Player Mission
The second group were not far behind the first, giving enough space for them to pass through the portal and get through the welcome party before they too crossed the threshold. Met by a similar wall of white, red and purple they were greeted by an Axirian commander who was blunt and to the point – they had no news of the status of the Library. The lines had fallen back to the city, no scouts had made it to the mountains in many days, they could not guarantee that the path between the city and the mountains would be clear of dangers. The library itself is on a pilgrimage route, a wide road that winds through the mountains. If they followed this they would come to the fortress in time, but who knew what would await them – or they could go directly across country. Brigit, volunteered by other to lead, mulled over the options and asked the others for their input, before choosing to venture across country. She asked that Silas always have a spotter with him lest he be ambushed, and Bartholomew volunteered to go with him.
The adventurers who went with them were:
- Silas of the Scouts Guild;
- Dr Krom Goodfellow of the Guild of Physicians;
- Quallan the Runesmith;
- Erulisse Saerwen of the School of Thaumaturgy;
- Sir Blaise de Neville and Ademar de Howard, Feudal Vassals;
- Mother Brigit Wooller, Supplicant Trevelyan and Father Leoric McColic of Crowa; High Primate Olivia de Bayard; Brother Bartholomew Carver of Longstor;
Leaving the city they were attacked unexpectedly by enemy forces, who they then tracked back towards the mountain and stopped the mage from warning her fellows. One of the Konnish surrendered to Lady Olivia, to the disgust of Sir Blaise who made his opinions of letting it live quite plain. Brigit interrupted the brewing argument – urging respect for the Vleyborian’s work but also urging speed. They were very exposed and obvious, and there was a fear that they were already expected given their contact from the Templar’s was worried that his letters had been read.
They came upon a Konnish Camp that seemed abandoned at the base of the mountain. Silas, Bartholomew and Erulisse went ahead to scout the large tent at the centre and came back with word of demons and bad magics. At the mention of demons Brigit’s doubts were quelled and they advanced on the camp to destroy any potential reinforcements the Konnish might have summoned. Quallan tore through the tent and found a chest that was trapped, and Brigit found a map that she quickly pocketed for the Pathfinder. Retrieving the contents of the box was a risky business but worth it as Lady Olivia, able to read and speak the Konnish tongue, read aloud the private letters sent to the Konnish Commander in the camp. It seems the siege was a secondary priority to capturing the capital, but they had other groups in other settlements intent on butchering the people inside should the Axirians attempt to take back the towns. Armed with this knowledge lives could be saved! Brigit pocketed these also and then the company turned their attentions on the mountain.
It was a long climb, beset by Konnish and their allies, a path that wound along rock faces and long drops. Then they came to the first fortress that Brigit had been told about in her research into the library. The door was smashed in and beyond that lay the ravine and the narrow bridge to the second door. The Konnish were clustered on the drop battering on the door and the adventurers charged in. Clearing the way Leoric hammered on the door and called out who was outside. A voice speaking Ithronian answered and a hatch appeared, an eye peering out at them. Quickly the bolts were drawn back and the defences lifted and the party ushered swiftly inside. The Templar praised the Seven as he saw the company who had broken through the lines, aware that Father McColic and Mother Brigit were coming. He gave a brief overview of the situation – the Library itself was carved into the rock of the mountain, a vast network of tunnels and caverns that one could get lost in. Much of the Library was untouched, but demons had portaled into the mountain and had done some serious harm. They had managed to trap them in three areas of the Library and were able to barely hold the defences there, but they did not have the strength to go in and rout them out.
Brigit listened and told the Templar the path they would take – first to the Cathedral to try and stop the Warlock, then deprive him of his power in the place of Magic and learning, before securing the Forge to bolster the defences. The Templar led the way through the defences, Quallan taking up the role of scout as he marvelled at the craftsmanship of the tunnels, though soon they passed through the cordon and were alone in the dimness. They fought through Konnish and their demon allies and all the religious characters felt the wrongness in the rock at the evil that had taken hold of the holiest of holies.
The Warlock bid them leave his courtroom, and basically was mobbed by the adventurers who drew their blessed and enchanted blades and cut a blood swathe through his demons and minions before pinning him to floor and beheading him. Brigit and Bartholomew began cleansing parts of the shrine, Brigit cleansing the room in an attempt to undo the harm that had been done by the demonic taint and the destruction of the relics; and the sight of the Gods returning to that place was palpable to all. They hurried onto their next destination, though walking through the place where the magic of Ymal flows close to the surface was agony for Erulisse, because she could feel the wrongness of the place like a bleeding wound. The warlock had stripped away the magic and without the magic the land would die, but that was a problem for another time. They came to the forge to find a group of Konnish trying to regain entrance to the place and Quallan came barrelling through – none can stand before a dwarven avalanche! Inside they found a few Konnish who were willing to surrender and that was that. The librarians and smiths and templars returned to the caverns, the company were free to go to the port and most of them did …
Except for Brigit … who had a Library to explore, and Leoric, Trevelyan, Erulisse, Quallan and Olivia were unwilling to leave her behind. Eventually Brigit was exhausted from her studies and fell asleep over her books – to wake up in Norham on the other side of a portal. As much as there are books in Ymal there’s a Kryganite problem to resolve in the north!